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85 posts categorized "Crime"

July 28, 2009

Everything's a frackin' insurgency nowadays

Analysts started likening drug violence in Mexico to an insurgency long before the facts justified the analogy. At first, the comparison was just a clumsy attempt re-describe the dreary old drug war in the hip new counterinsurgency talk the that the young people enjoy. (A similar jargon-shift happened after 9-11, when every bad thing in the world became a species of terrorism.)

However, John P. Sullivan and Adam Elkus (via Narcoguerra Times) make a good case that the facts on the ground are starting to match the rhetoric, thanks in large part to President Calderon's attempt to send the military after the drug cartels on Mexican soil. It's not surprising. Start a civil war, create an insurgency by default.

Continue reading "Everything's a frackin' insurgency nowadays" »

July 27, 2009


Sensational crime lede du jour:

The murders of Byrd and Melanie Billings, parents of 17, were made more bizarre by the ninja garb worn by the killers. Now Rick Outzen reports that these ninjas might have struck before. [Daily Beast]

The author mentions "ninja garb" several times and speculates that a ninja crime wave is sweeping the Florida panhandle. But he doesn't explain what he means by the "bizarre dress of [the] executioners as Japanese ninja warriors."

I'm going to assume he means black ski masks and black clothes. What else would you wear to a home invasion?

I'd take notice if the assassins used swords or throwing stars, but according to media reports they used guns.

June 14, 2009

Minuteman tied to home invasion

Border Reporter Michel Marizco has a blockbuster story about a member of the anti-immigration vigilante group known as the Minutemen arrested today in Arizona in connection with a home invasion:

A 41-year-old woman involved with the Minuteman vigilante groups that hunt illegal migrants through the Arizona desert has been arrested for pulling a home invasion and murdering a father and his nine year old daughter last month.

Then it gets ugly and weird. According to the Pima County Sheriff’s Office, Shawna Forde, 43, was arrested south of Sierra Vista, Ariz. today. Her accomplices, Albert Gaxiola and Jason Eugene Bush, were also arrested. Bush was picked up in Kingman on June 11 and Gaxiola in Tucson. The father and daughter, Raul and Brisenia Flores, were murdered May 30.

The Pima County Sheriff’s Office says Forde and her two accomplices pretended to be police and entered the home. A woman in the home is recovering from her injuries.

Read the whole thing. Truly a bizarre tale.

Update: is reporting that Forde has been charged with first degree murder, burglary, and aggravated assault in connection with the May 30 incident. Authorities hypothesize that the Minutemen intended to steal money and drugs to finance their illegal activities. I wonder if the GOP will tell us that the Minutemen are secret leftists, like George Tiller's assassin and the Holocaust Museum shooter.

June 05, 2009

I have a special practice, I handle one client

Revelations from law enforcement: "Police say lawyers aid Mafia, new book suggests"

Police suspect a handful of practising lawyers play an indispensable role in the dealings of Canada’s most notorious crime family, protecting sensitive meetings from police scrutiny with their mere presence, and even subscribing to cellphone numbers for mobsters in order to thwart police eavesdropping, a new book reveals.

Mobsters have lawyers. Who knew?

June 03, 2009

Too many martyrs

Josh at Thoughts from Kansas draws some important parallels between two American assassinations--civil rights activist Medgar Evars in 1963 and physician George Tiller last Sunday:

Medgar Evers was a civil rights activist in Mississippi. Growing up black in a state where dark skin was a crime, he had the courage to stand up for his rights and the rights of his friends and family. He organized boycotts, sued for admission to a segregated law school, and became field secretary for the NAACP.

His house was attacked with Molotov cocktails, but he didn't back down. In Phil Ochs' immortal phrasing, "They tried to burn his home and they beat him to the ground/ But deep inside they both knew what it took to bring him down." And on June 12, 1963, returning home from a meeting with NAACP lawyers, Evers was shot in the back. Ochs concluded that "The country gained a killer and the country lost a man," [...]

Amanda Marcotte debunks the self-serving myth that run-of-the-mill anti-choice agitators can wash their hands of Dr. Tiller's assasination. Not everyone who objects to abortions is part of the movement, but the movement as it manifests itself on the streets and outside the clinics in this country is ugly and violent.

Its main tactics are harrassment and intimidation from confronting patients on the street to picketing clinic staffers at home. As Amanda details in her post, Operation Rescue of Wichita is directly linked to Tiller's alleged shooter, Scott Roemer.

If you think flirting with violence is just for fringe anti-choicers, remember how then-vice presidential candidate and current 2012 GOP presidential hopeful Sarah Palin tied herself in knots on national TV to avoid classifying clinic bombers domestic terrorists.

May 31, 2009

Abortion crusader Dr. George Tiller murdered in church

Dr. George Tiller was murdered in church today. Tiller was one of only a handful of physicians in America who perform late-term abortions. He survived an assassination attempt in 1993 and returned to his practice.

Amanda Marcotte has a touching post on George Tiller's life of service:

Dr. Tiller was a brave man and a real hero.  He was already shot once in 1993, but despite the ongoing threat of violence, he continued to work diligently to provide abortion services to women who are often in the worst possible situation, facing down the termination of a pregnancy that was being eagerly planned for, until things went terribly wrong. If a woman has a later term therapeutic abortion---be it because it was a wanted pregnancy, she has serious mental health issues, or she is a child victim of rape---it’s rarely easy on her mentally or physically.  Dr. Tiller’s clinic was renowned for the thoughtful patient support to help women get through what is a very difficult time---counseling, support groups, religious services for the lost baby if you desire.

Dr. Tiller gave his life for women's health and freedom. He must have known that the anti-abortion assasins would strike again. Tiller probably could have saved himself by getting out of the business--a lot of doctors do--but he refused to give in to terrorism.  His legacy will live on.

Update: KWCH-12 is reporting that the police have apprehended a suspected shooter [HT: Jezebel]

May 25, 2009

Norm Costa, Ethics Detective

Unlawful, originally uploaded by It'sGreg.

What happens when a mental health professional becomes a predator? Who suffers? Who is responsible? Is Justice, for perpetrator or victim, something real or abstract? Upon whose shoulders is the burden of justice?

Find out, in the next exciting installment of Norm Costa, Ethics Detective....

May 22, 2009

"Right now, to me he's, like, the dumbest person on this Earth."

Meet the four hapless dudes who allegedly plotted to blow up synagogues in New York, the scheming informant who recruited them, and the deeply sketchy FBI agent who reeled them in.

The title of this post is a quote from the sister of one of the accused plotters.

Ex-Asst. U.S. Attorney indicted for murder of federal witness

A former assistant U.S. attorney was indicted for murder, mortgage fraud, and racketeering in New Jersey earlier this week.

As if that wasn't sensational enough, the murder victim was a federal witness slated to testify against his client. Bergrin is also accused of attempting to hire a hitman to kill another witness.

The indicted lawyer, Paul Bergrin served as assistant U.S. attorney from 1985 to 1990.

May 19, 2009

Mexico police chief accused of running narco death squad

The police chief of Tapachula, two of his commanders, and the city's former head of public safety were arrested on suspicion of running a death squad for Los Zetas in southern Mexico over the weekend:

Police in southern Mexico, meanwhile, said they arrested a gang of at least six Gulf cartel assassins, including two women, who were allegedly commanded by top police officers.

The police chief, two commanders and a former public safety director in the city of Tapachula, near the Guatemala border, were also detained on suspicion of leading the hit gang.

The suspects allegedly worked for the Zetas, a gang of enforcers linked to the Gulf cartel. Police and soldiers seized dozens of grenades and assault rifles during the weekend raid in which the alleged assassins were captured, state prosecutors said.

Drug corruption scandals have blossomed across Mexico recently — in states far from the U.S. border region, where the drug battles have long been concentrated. [AP]

The original Los Zetas were defectors from the Mexican special forces who found that they could make a better living by changing sides in the drug war. The United States played a key role in training the Mexican special forces to fight the drug war in the late 1990's.